I have mentioned previously the Auckland Mayor of the early 60s, Sir Dove-Meyer Robinson, advocating a rapid rail system for Auckland. He was overruled, but 60 years later the subject is still being discussed on and off around the Council table. As per usual nothing has been done to cater to or ease the movement of the Queen City commuters.
In 1984 I moved my family from the Waikato to Dargaville. Even then discussions were afoot regarding traffic flow through Wellsford – “should we go over, under or around the town” were the options. Finally after almost 35 years we have a blueprint for a ‘real’ main highway extending virtually from the Auckland motorway to the north side of Te Hana. As yet it is still to be officially ratified and consented which could be two or more years away and then construction on such a scale may conceivably take 10 years to complete. What happens in the meantime?
Last weekend I travelled to a family celebration in the northern Waikato leaving Whangarei a little before 10am. Heading south I have to say barring a brief slow period from Constellation Drive to the Takapuna on-ramp, my trip was trouble free. At Warkworth, as per usual, traffic was at a standstill back to the lights by the showgrounds where I usually skirt around anyway, joining in again at the lights at Woodcocks Road.
This was heading towards midday on a Saturday. No long weekend, no major events in Northland to my knowledge, but northbound traffic was virtually at a standstill back to the Honey Centre, six kilometres south. A short gap, then more nose-to-tail traffic up the viaduct, across Windy Ridge and down to Puhoi and Johnsons Tunnels where, of course, there was a concertina effect of two lanes converging into one (this has always been a mind-boggler). This snarl-up continued right back to the city.
I say again, no long weekend, no major events in Northland.
I’m often critical of those who whine ‘too little, too late’ from the point of view of ‘better late than never’, but given that we have the greatest car numbers per family than most other countries in the world, plus a rapidly growing population, I can’t help but wonder how bad congestion is going to get in the next 15 years. When this highway actually does materialise we are going to have four lanes congested for another 30 kilometres, rather than the two lanes that is the case now. I wonder also why the projected highway couldn’t follow the path of the railway line which generally follows the straightest, flattest and most direct route to its destination.
I’m not a party pooper but I see what’s happening on the northern side of the Brynderwyns which is not a high danger piece of road and just hope commuters will get a result befitting the needs of motorists come 2030. Of course by then Mangawhai will be a city and there will be no need to commute to Auckland.
Just my thoughts. Happy to hear yours.